Posted in bible, birds, physics, science, string theory

From musical birds on a wire to natural numbers controversy; string theory to theory of everything- some thoughts

A month ago I wrote about the Music of the Spheres, the ancient concept developed by Pythagoras and promoted by Plato that there is a hidden order and musical harmony behind what we see manifested in the physical universe. Pythagoras believed that numbers were the foundational glue that ordered the worlds, and further, that as the planets and universe went about their business orbiting and just being, that they emitted an actual musical score, thrumming as strings.

If this sounds a lot like string theory, Pythagoras had the initial glimmers. If you’d like to read more, I discussed the concept of the Music of the Spheres into three parts. Part 1 begins here.

Imagine my delight when I came across this from South America. It is from 2009, so it’s not new, but isn’t this just charming:

LifeBuzz describes:

Birdsong, by Jarbas Agnelli
One morning while reading a newspaper, composer Jarbas Agnelli saw a photograph of birds on an electric wire. He cut out the photo and was inspired to make a song using the exact location of the birds as musical notes. He was curious to hear what melody the birds created.

He sent the music to the photographer, Paulo Pinto, who told his editor, who told a reporter and the story ended up as an interview in the newspaper. It ended up Winner of the YouTube Play Guggenheim Biennial Festival.

A physics controversy is erupting. It seems that a youtube video is making a splash. According to this article it has been seen by 1.5 million people as of February 4, 2014.

Two physicists explain: The sum of all positive integers equals −1/12


I read several Physics chat rooms and forums and it seems there is a huge debate over this. Two string theory scientists had recently posted in their Youtube video explaining that all the positive integers added up to infinity equals a negative number. Who knew there were that many string theory scientists & geeks. Anyway, there is huge debate over their results. The link above is a good article explaining what the string theory scientists are about.

The article opens this way-
“How far should scientists go in simplifying complexity to engage the public imagination?”

Though the scientists say they focus on the infinite, what they’re really focusing on is the eternal.

God is the infinite. Only God can simplify the eternal so that man’s finite brain can understand it. This is why unsaved people cannot understand the bible, and this is why unsaved scientists cannot understand the complex. In fact, the only people who can understand string theory are Christians.

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16)

One of the scientists saying this positive number equals a negative number thing is Tony Padilla. Padilla says,

It’s by no means obvious, but this is the only sensible value one can attach to this divergent sum. Infinity is not a sensible value. In my opinion, as a physicist, infinity has no place in physical observables, and therefore no place in Nature.”

No, infinity does not have a sensible value. How can one put a value on the infinite (eternal)? However, if you think about it, numbers in general do not have a sensible value! It is finite man who developed counting systems with values. Though in the US we use base-10, others use base 12. This mathematician wrote,

Humans, for the most part, count in chunks of 10 — that’s the foundation of the decimal system. Despite its near-universal adoption, however, it’s a completely arbitrary numbering system that emerged for one very simple reason: We have five fingers on each hand.

Mayans used base 20 and Babylonians used base 60. So scientists who put all their trust (faith?) in a value of

Babylonian numerals

a number forget that assigning a value to a number, (written in what is only a man-made squiggle after all, remember XVII?), is just as arbitrary and at root, have no sensible value, either.

David Hilbert, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, described infinity as “a mathematical abstraction that does not have a physical content.”

That’s because infinity is God (eternal) and God is spirit! God does not have physical content.

Linnaeus: Table of the Animal Kingdom (Regnum Animale)
from the 1st edition of Systema Naturæ (1735)

OK, this math positive numbers equal negative numbers thing is a classic example of scientists attempting to classify the unclassifiable. Physics comes extremely close to who God is and one of His infinite qualities, omniscience. The scientists are trying to order and organize something that is impossible to order and organize without knowing God. They are UNspiritual people trying to learn spiritual things- 1 Corinthians 2:13- and with a finite mind, no less.

Some parts of our physical existence can be seen and understood, but even Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, had a difficult time with his hierarchical organization trees because new species kept cropping up that destroyed his finely created “kingdom-class-order-phylum-genus-species hierarchical taxonomy.

And physicists try to do the same, but with math. It works to a degree but just when they get close, like mercury squirting out from under their thumb, their theories collapse. Their pursuit is like Tantalus’, eternally reaching for the fruit and the water that was eternally outside his grasp. It is a classic case of 2 Timothy 3:7!

Hilbert was right, more right than he knew. Infinity IS a mathematical content that has no physical…it’s God. But they will never accept that. I watched the BBC series “Atom” a couple of summers ago, narrated by physicist Jim Al-Khalili. He showed how even this dimension we are living in is likely a hologram, AKA not real – and how right he is! Which is the ‘real’ dimension? This one or the one that appeared before the disciples’ eyes on the mount of Transfiguration, with Moses and Elijah ‘suddenly’ appearing and speaking to each other? The one that Elisha’s servant saw, or the one that Elisha asked God to reveal which was there all along? In physics this hologram universe is called the ‘holographic principle’. PBS Nova describes the holographic principle–

The holographic principle, simply put, is the idea that our three-dimensional reality is a projection of information stored on a distant, two-dimensional surface. Like the emblem on your credit card, the two-dimensional surface holds all the information you need to describe a three-dimensional object—in this case, our universe. Only when it is illuminated does it reveal a three-dimensional image. This raises a number of questions: If our universe is a holographic projection, then where is the two-dimensional surface containing all the information that describes it? What “illuminates” that surface? Is it more or less real than our universe?

So when math guys say that all positive integers added to infinity would result in a sum that is a negative number, why NOT? What is real about anything we know, except for what God revealed to us in His word? all that math is, and physics, is an arbitrary philosophical construct based on man’s interpretation of things outside of the only construct that makes sense- the bible.

Physicists seek the Theory of Everything. “A theory of everything (ToE) or final theory, ultimate theory or master theory refers to the hypothetical presence of a single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe. ToE is one of the major unsolved problems in physics.” (source)

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” (1 Timothy 6:20)

We rejoice in the Creator without succumbing to worshiping the creation. We take delight in Who God is, without attempting to overlay scientific theories that explain Him. He is eternal, infinite, expansive, majestic, and above all, holy. The Theory of Everything that scientists constantly seek, is … the bible. Best of all, it’s not a theory. It is fact.

“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,” (Psalm 113:1-9)

Posted in birds, creation, movie review

Movie review: "Birders:The Central Park Effect", comments on creation & biophilia

E. Prata photo

Birders: The Central Park Effect is a movie about, well birds and the people who look at them.

Each spring when the great migration of birds from the southern climes in Central & South America migrate north to Canada to breed, and then in the fall when they migrate south to their homes in the south again, huge flocks of birds descend on Manhattan’s Central Park. Of the millions which pass over, thousands at any given day will choose to swoop down and take their several day rest in the greenery that is this magnificent park. The northeast corridor is pretty well filled with wall-to-wall cities, and Central Park is just too good of a stopping place to ignore.

This one-hour film is a documentary which documents this fact, it reveals what drives birders who stumble around the woods looking up with binoculars, and it lovingly and lushly films the stars of the show: the birds.

E. Prata photo

One woman who is featured is Starr Saphir. (pronounced, sapphire). Starr has been leading bird-watching tours of the Park for almost 40 years. Her love for the park, for birds, and for leading people to birds is evident in her voice and eyes as she describes the winged creatures that she has counted and the beauty she has been privileged to share with newcomers to the hobby.

The documentary opens with Spring, and the birds’ arrival. It chronicles the park in all four seasons and ends with spring again. The people interviewed range from famous (novelist Jonathan Rosen) to anonymous bird lovers. About 200 species stop by the park during Migration, about a quarter of all species found in the US.

The star of the show is the nature that is presented as the backdrop for the birds, all the more remarkable for being totally man-made. (Central Park is totally man-made and carefully managed, down to switches which govern the pipes that gush water from pretend brooks and streams). A few sobering facts are given, for example, that in the last four years, (the movie was released in 2012), bird counts of many different species has been dropping by as much as 50%. The documentary however thankfully stays away from preaching ecology, and simply lets the birds and their watchers be the star of the show. One thing I really enjoyed was that since this documentary is set in New York City, and most New Yorkers are highly literate, these people could speak well and used language in almost poetic and vivid ways.

E. Prata photo

For example, of the birds, one man said “I realized the trees were hung with ornaments!” Like that.

For Christians, within the first 6 minutes, there are three objectionable comments:

–Oh My God!
–Holy frikken Moses!

Both of the above occur at 2:20 into it.

–and one man used the real f-word. (6:41 into it)

After that, there is no language, no adult situations, no innuendo, and no one is underdressed. It is an interesting little documentary and a pretty movie. I recommend it.

As far as spiritual matters go, I have some additional thoughts. All the people interviewed and even those who weren’t but were simply filmed, brave the cold, the rain, their schedules, all to go look at a bird in the wild. Why?

One man attempted to explain this innate attraction to nature, by saying that “the birds awaken something in my soul. If I had one.” He wasn’t joking.

Another interviewee said that he feels strongly attached to the Park as well. He said that the nature there soothes him and he feels more complete when he is there, among the birds. He said that scientists have a name for this feeling: “biophilia.”

The Online Free Dictionary defines biophilia as a psychological term, “an innate love for the natural world, supposed to be felt universally by humankind”

The biophilia hypothesis is stated on Wikipedia as “an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defines biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. The term “biophilia” literally means “love of life or living systems.” It was first used by Erich Fromm to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. Wilson uses the term in the same sense when he suggests that biophilia describes “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life.” He proposed the possibility that the deep affiliations humans have with nature are rooted in our biology.”

Yes. Deep affiliations with nature are rooted in us. Genesis 1 and Romans 1 shows us this. We do not need modern psychology to coin a term and explain the obvious.

In Genesis 1, God created man, and set Him in the perfect Garden, and gave him a command to take care of it and to name and take care of the animals. God revealed Himself in creation and since we are made in His image we share that affinity with creation, and also are a part of it. (Genesis 1:26-30, Genesis 2:15, Romans 1:20, Romans 1:23).

As Adam, He made us in His image, and since he had instilled in Adam a command to take care of His creation. When Adam and Eve sinned, he ejected them from the Garden and cursed the ground. Even though we have a sin nature now and try to exercise dominion of the earth thru flesh, and do it badly, we still possess that innate love for creation and the instinct to shepherd it. However also because we have a sin nature, satan corrupts our tie with the natural world, from gentle shepherding as creatures made in His image, to idolaters worshiping the creation instead of the Creator. Satan claims our flesh nature and corrupts what is a natural feeling of love for the One who created the creation, including ourselves, part of that creation and creatures we are.

E. Prata photo

So biophilia is a fun-to-say psychology word and not much else. It stops there. It simply acknowledges the affinity we have with creation, but does not acknowledge the creator. The interviewees in the documentary acknowledged their attraction to nature, acknowledged the beauty of the birds, acknowledged the wonder of precise migration patterns, but did not acknowledge the Creator who made it all.

It’s not biophilia. It’s God. And praise Him for it all!

“O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)

E. Prata photo


Further reading:

What the bible says about God and the natural world

Posted in birds, creation grace

Creation Grace: The birds

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
they give drink to every beast of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
(Psalm 104:10-13)

EPrata photo

Be encouraged! “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Posted in birds, creation grace, roost, starlings

Creation grace: Starling murmuration & evening roost

One evening as I was driving home, I spotted a moving black cloud over the fields. I stopped and watched a gathering of starlings come together and dance in aerobatic, soaring beauty over the fields. The flock parted and came together, swooped and climbed heights. The display was inexpressibly beautiful. At the end, the flock settled in the treetops next to the field and the dance was over.

Scientists call this behavior ‘starling murmuration.’ “Starling swarms, an extraordinarily beautiful ballet at dusk that is a pre-roosting phenomenon of nature known as ‘starling murmuration.’” Capturing the flock in motion proved to be too hard a task for me and my camera, my photos mostly came out blurry. I didn’t even think to set it on video, lol, I was so captured by the beauty of this, the dancing birds, pink sky and rising moon. There are some gorgeous pics of the phenomenon for you here.

About Birding says “Small birds sleep perched high in trees, typically close to the trunk of the tree. The trunk holds heat from the daytime to provide better shelter, and the birds will be alerted to any vibrations predators make if they climb the tree looking for prey. Many birds, such as red-winged blackbirds and other gregarious species, form large roost flocks at night. This provides them safety in numbers as they sleep, and several birds on the edges of the flock may remain alert through the night to guard against predators or other threats.”


Lord, thank You for your endless creativity and intellect. 
I feel such joy at being a part of Your creation.

Posted in birds, childlike faith, children

"Birds make me laugh"

The cafeteria at school is crowded with first and second graders. It is full, and it is loud. VERY loud. It has to be, with nearly 200 children talking even at a normal level, trays banging, feet shuffling, and forks tinkling.

There is this first grade boy who is quiet. He doesn’t speak much, and when he does it is in a soft-spoken voice. He is sensitive and artistic. He has a kind heart and loving eyes.

He raised his hand today and he had something to say. I came over, expecting him to ask me the usual, please open my ketchup packet, or I dropped my fork and I need another. Instead he said,

“I saw birds at my house.”
“What kind of birds did you see?”
“I saw a blue jay!” he said happily. “I saw a robin, and a red bird, and crows.” He looked very pleased about this.
I said, “The red bird is a cardinal.”
“OH! I saw ducks too. We have a pond. And some other birds I forgot.”
“Yes, ducks are birds. What do you like about birds?”

“Birds make me laugh.”

To be touched by the simplicity and beauty of birds singing and flying about your yard is, to me, a response to the Creator in childlike faith.

A childlike faith means that the child sees the wonder of God as the bible says. Children intuitively understand the connection of creation to the Creator.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

Even as the creation groans for its Creator, it still does what it is supposed to do- bring Him glory. And they do it.

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this? (Job 12:7-8)